Perhaps the movie Terms of Endearment delivered one of the best lines regarding raising children, which was “As hard as it is, you end up wishing it were that easy.” Indeed. Needless to say, when my first child was born, time management took on an entirely different meaning. My commitment to making baby food from scratch turned into nothing more than a fantasy.
My mother made everything from scratch. Growing up, I never appreciated the thought, time, and effort that she put into every meal. I never appreciated the whole wheat bread sandwiches, piece of fruit, and crackers that filled my lunch bag; I was always envious of my friends who got Wonderbread, Hostess Cup Cakes, and Doritos. I never appreciated eating bran flakes when everyone else I knew got Captain Crunch. I never appreciated waiting until after dinner to have cookies. No, I never appreciated any of those things. Until now.
There are two rules that I have remained loyal to, even after my second child was born. First, eating dinner together as a family is a must; no television on in the background, no toddler roaming around, and no eating in shifts.
Second, I am steadfast to cook homemade dinners at least five days a week. It is important that my kids know what real food tastes like without the additives that processed foods contain. At three years old, my daughter Haley won’t even eat anything that is processed. (We’re no strangers to Chinese take-out and dessert, however. And if there was a Chipotle within a five-mile radius of our house, we’d be in trouble. Hey, we’re human.)
In some ways, Haley’s refusal to eat anything from a can or box has a downside, like when I’m completely spent and desperately wish I could just throw some frozen pizza bites in the oven. She would have none of that, so I must keep the bar raised even at lunchtime.
But in the end I’m happy that my kids are familiar with non-sugar laden cereal and the like. The bonus is that Haley has developed quite a diverse palette. And so far, her little brother is on the same track.
Chris Berry recently published a great article called “Is My Son The Only Child In America Who Has Never Eaten A Happy Meal?” Regarding his four-year-old son, he writes:
“As Robert gets older, I’m sure it will be harder to control his diet and help him resist the temptations of junk food. After struggling with my weight for most of my life, I’m determined to get him started on a healthier path. As I’ve discovered on my own personal fitness quest, it’s easier to stay healthy when you’re young than to get healthy when you’re old.”
Studies have shown that we tend to repeat the behavior of how we were raised, whether it’s how our parents treated money, spoke to each other, kept house, or how we were fed. What did you eat as a child? And do you think it has influenced what you eat as an adult? For those of you that have children, do you find yourself feeding them the same things you ate at that age?